My high school vice principal has been all over Facebook today, from various posts on the school’s page, posts from teachers and students filled with pride. Last night José Manuel Leavitt had the honor of presenting his former student, doctor Ana Maria Polo, with the price Estrella tu Mundo (Your World Star) at the awards show, Tu Mundo (Your World) for her show Caso Cerrado (Case Closed).
The fact that they called him, Mr. Leavitt as he is known by pretty much everyone who goes by his school, shows how much he means to Dra. Polo. He is everything she described him as; she said he opened her eyes to the world, to history and to the cycles of humanity. I never had him as a teacher, I knew him as the vice principal, and he was the best. All of us love him very much.
Students from every generation know him and remember him as the best history teacher, the Italian teacher, and vice principal. He taught my stepfather about 30 years ago and every time he sees him he calls him by his two first names and last name. Now his student is married to one of his co-workers, my mom. He calls me Maria Cristina and it’s pretty rare to hear somebody call me by my full name; but I don’t mind, it makes me feel good being called Maria Cristina instead of Kiki once in a while. Every time I see him he asks about my brother, Andrés, he calls him by his first name though everyone in school knows him as Sanfe. He asks because no matter how many students he’s had, he remembers who is who’s sibling, parents, years in school, just everything.
It was a great thing seeing my vice-principal on tv, see him proudly walking on stage to give his student an award. As many students as he’s had and he still remembers her. This man shows everything my school stands for, everything we were taught, to be good, kind, respectful, generous, and to always treat others as if they were your family, not your enemies.
Our world today needs more of this, it needs more Mr. Leavitts.